Rights of Way and Access

maps (image: Drew Collins on unsplash)

Working in Rights of Way and Access. There are two main elements of access work: the administrative, legal side of ensuring paths follow the permitted route are unimpeded and are correctly represented on the map and the practical element of keeping paths open, signed and useable.

Jobs and employment

Typical jobs include Rights of Way Officer, Access Officer, Footpath Worker, Footpath Surveyor.

See current vacancies advertised with CJS here.

To gain the experience required volunteering is frequently a good start.

See current volunteering opportunities advertised with CJS here.

Skills, training and CPD.

Rights of Way work requires tact, diplomacy and patience as well as an ability to communicate with the public. You will need knowledge of rights of way law and mapping software e.g. GIS or MapInfo.  For the more practical roles basic land management skills will be necessary.  For all roles the ability to read a map and to walk, often long distances, over rough terrain are necessary.

And something unusual like stone carving (for gate posts and signs) or traditional sign writing may make your application stand out.

If you're thinking of a career in rights of way a countryside management higher qualification is usually the basic entry point. There are details of longer courses like these on the Training Directory here.

Information and in depth articles

Health Walks in the Derbyshire Dales, Derbyshire Dales District Council

Managing visitors with dogs post-Covid, Stephen Jenkinson

Wanted! Miracle worker …, ScotWays

The future for protecting right of way as 2026 deadline to register historic paths is dropped, Ramblers

Walk This May, Living Streets

Public Rights of Way and access - an insight nearly 20 years on, Birchill Access Consultancy

Inclusive access – small changes make a big difference, Open Country

Towards an accessible countryside, Open Country

Go Jauntly launches smartphone ‘nature diary’ to boost mental health


Useful organisations

Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management (IPROW)

Open Spaces Society

Paths for All


Scottish Access Technical Information Network


Byway and Bridleway Trust

Living Streets

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